No, Orthodox rabbinical schools do not offer any courses in medicine. We should know. We graduated from one of them and there were no courses in medical subjects at our school.
And so that leads us to ask why rabbis think they are experts in determining what is a valid indicator of human death? Surely they cannot be serious that knowledge of the Talmud gives them any expertise in this area.
But they do think they have that expertise according to a story by Stuart Ain in the New York Jewish Week, "RCA Backs Off Stand On Brain Death For Transplants" with the subtitle, "Critics see move as jeopardizing lives of Orthodox Jews; internal study cites ‘rabbinic confusion’ on issue." And rabbis have the unmitigated ego to express a pseudo-authoritative opinion on this issue.
Now as to the Jewish Week, it's a poorly written story, clearly intending from the first paragraph to make rabbis appear to be confused. Rabbis have opinions about this issue of life and death -- but they are not a clear ones -- says the JW.
Now, it is okay for blogs and bloggers to inject bias and opinion into every line of what they write. I checked my license. It gives me the green light. But we thought that there were canons of journalistic professionalism that newspapers had to adhere to. Perhaps not any more.
No comment about my rabbinical colleagues, who though untrained, do not hesitate to expound. Why pay attention to anything they say then if they spout off opinion in this area, lacking any and all professional medical credentials?
Hat tip to Mimi, who does know quite a bit about this issue.